The Story of Christianity - Justo L. Gonzalez

Monday, July 31, 2006
Big but an easily readable book.

Good foundation and history.

Travel Tips For The Big City

Saturday, July 29, 2006
While this isn't the case in Prince Albert, in cities much bigger the thing to remember so you are not embarrassed is, if you have to ask how much it is, YOU CANNOT AFFORD IT.

I learned that with $500 earrings, an $850 purse, and a particularly likeable orange $130 tie.

Secondly, if that girl across from you in the Gucci store has her blond hair in a pony tail, under a baseball cap, wearing large sunglasses, it may be a movie star, but not necessarily Scarlett Johansson.

Third, don"t go downtown on the hottest day of the year. Everybody else is there shopping, thinking everybody else stayed home.

When you exit the El station and realize you are walking onto a movie set, don"t make a big deal about it, just keep walking. The man did ask nicely for me to get out of the scene please, so I did.

Watch for my appearance in a comedy called Quebec. I"ll probably end up on the cutting room floor.

And finally, be prepared for there to be So. Many. People. I forgot there were so many people in the world. In all kinds of colours, cultures, sizes and models.

Hope this helps. Pictures to follow.

Well, nearly done.

This week has been very very helpful, considering the fact that earlier this summer I wasn"t really sure I would even make it through the season. But I may just make it after all.

Today our class goes till 12 pm, then we are done. Since I don"t have to be at the airport till tomorrow morning at 6 am, (Which will present its own set of problems!!) I have some free time this afternoon.

It may be crazy, because there is a heat advisory out, (97 F, plus major humidity!) but I am going to try to get downtown one last time. I"m heading to the Gold Coast, Gucci, Bloomingdales, etc, and the beach.

Peace, and thank you for your prayers.

Praying. Together.

Friday, July 28, 2006
By Randall Friesen
Prince Albert Daily Herald

I"ve never been one of those people who feels the need to pray before you dig in to your meal. I mean, that prayer can at times become a seemingly dead thing. “Mumble Mumble Mumble , Amen.”?

Having said that, I also have to say that it is something Lauralea and I have done with our kids from nearly day one.

Why do we do it?

Is it to teach our children how to pray, or how to pray regularly? Maybe early on. But it does become a joke when you sit down to eat and repeat the family mealtime prayer, say amen, and not 5 seconds later one of the twerps at the table will honestly inquire why we are eating because we haven"t prayed yet.

Sigh. Yeah, deep spiritual moment there.

I have never thought its just done for those reasons though.

For me, the reasons we pray that simple little banal ditty before we eat a meal go deeper.

It is the only time in the rush of our family life, that we come together to stop, and pray. Whether its banal or not, trite or not, we are praying together. We are recognizing something or someone bigger than ourselves, God. And in so doing, it becomes an act of worship.

In moments when considered deeply, it becomes holy, reverent, and true. Of course you will have days when its only blah blah blah. But you keep on praying, day by day. And some days it"s more. Each day gives you and the kids one more opportunity to make it more.

And common prayer shapes us. It defines who we are and how we connect and relate to each other, and to God, The Greater.

When God created this world and gave it to humankind, he gave us the keys to it. To an extent greater than we may realize, what we wanted would be, and what we didn"t want, wouldn"t be.

Somewhere in the fall of humanity, we gave a spare set of keys to God"s enemy. We gave him room to be here too. To come and go mostly as he pleased.

I have always seen prayer as us inviting God into the equation again. It"s us recognizing that we need him here on earth, in our lives. Asking him to do here on earth and in us, as it is in heaven.

When we do that together, it can become a deeply moving and sometimes a powerful act of worship and unity.

Last fathers day as my whole family gathered together at mom and dad"s for lunch, we stood and sat around the room getting ready to eat. As we prepared, we entered again into that prayer that we had prayed a million times as family. Sometimes angry, sometimes sad or hurt, and many times completely unaware. Only occasionally were we aware of what we were saying and doing. But that day we prayed again, and it was an act of worship and thanksgiving.

We were unaware of what the week would bring, but we were aware of God"s presence and our unity in him that day. In the common prayer we did together what we could not do individually, we united our hearts around Jesus, it was a holy moment in our routine lives.

Later that week dad passed away, suddenly but not unexpectedly. We as family gathered again to make plans and of course to share a meal together. As we bowed our heads there was a moment of realization for most of us, that this was the first time we would pray with one of us gone on. It was a sobering reminder that while we may come and go, prayer remains.

Yes, there is deep value in prayer. It becomes deeper still when it"s corporate prayer, and even more profound when that prayer is prayed together, daily, for years and years. It will shape you as a group and unite you in a common theme, that of worshiping one greater than yourselves.

Consider it for yourself, and maybe for your family.

Our prayer is a short German table blessing, “Come dear lord and be our guest, bless what thou provided hast, Amen.”? You could update it to something like “Come dear lord and be our guest, bless everything that you have given us. Amen.”?

Start sowing these seeds of prayer. Generations to come will reap wonderful fruit if we do.

Randall Friesen is a local husband and father who pastors Gateway Covenant Church. He writes regularly at

Some Images

Thursday, July 27, 2006
I have a few images posted up on Flickr. The University computers won't let me ftp, so I'm using Flickr for now.



Rat Sign

Ok, for you people who may not believe me, (read: Doug!) regarding the rat sign, here you go.

Rat Sign

I know, unbelieveable.

You should see the size of the spiders here. One tried to kick me out of the shower the other day. He nearly succeeded.

(No pictures will be forthcoming. You'll have to imagine that one in your heads!)

Who am I down inside

Well, another emotionally strenuous day here. Today we were learning tools to help us listen to ourselves. This is something I"ve wanted to be better at for a long time, and today was a great help.

I"d have to say that God is taking good care of me down here. We have had some insightful times, and I"ve been learning things... that are deeply helpful. He"s also been encouraging me through some of the other students. There are 20 of us who have been picked to be in this program, and they are very affirming of me. Even to the extent of talking to God for me, and passing on what they are hearing from him.

It is Thursday though, and we are getting quite tired. It"s just a lot of deep emotional work going on. We are learning better ways to listen to God, listen to the world, listen to ourselves, etc. Our supper break just started and I would love to find a couch to crash on for a sleep till the evening session begins. But there are only chairs here.

All is well, and I hope some of these things will help me become the person I really do desire to become.


My sleeping place

Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Well, day three (but it feels like day 48) is now completed. And I am done for.

The place I'm staying at is Dr. Roger Thorps home. He was a missionary Doctor in the Congo for some time.
The house I'm staying at

Anyway their home is three blocks away from the school. It's a nice walk.

Interesting note, today on my walk in I saw a sign posted on a light pole warning the residents not to feed the rats, that a program was in place to exterminate the rat problem in the area.

You just don't see those signs in Prince Albert.

Night. And sweet dreams.

Chillin, in a heatwave.


I"m really mellow right now.

We"ve just practiced 20 minutes of Centering prayer, and I am sooooo, what"s the word, relaxed.

The course is intense, but for me it feels like I have come home.

They are teaching us activities and techniques I have been practicing for a long time, but I didn"t know the language for them. They are giving words to some of my feelings and ways of relating to God that I have followed for years. It feels like home.

On one hand it all feels new. On the other it"s like an old friend I"m learning more about.

It"s lunch break right now, and I have found the Computer lab. It seems to be the only room that is air conditioned to such a wonderful degree. (Pun definitely intended!) I"m limiting myself to about one meal a day, which is enough for me. Today for supper the whole class is invited to supper at a department head"s home, so that will be my meal.

And as I said, I"m usually in class from 9 till 12, 1:30 till 5:30, and then 7 till 9. So there"s not a lot of time to fuss with other things. Besides, the heat and humidity is so high these days. It kinda saps any energy you have left over from the day.

We are heading back into another 20 minutes of centering prayer, which will be good. Then we start our small listening groups. I believe I will be the first to tell my story in the group.

Nervous, but hopeful.

More later.

We have landed

Saturday, July 22, 2006
We are here.

Bit of a tricky landing into O'Hare. We tried to get around a huge thunderstorm. It made the landing kinda rough. But hey, now I'm that much closer to the lord and ready for the personal retreat they are sending us on tomorrow. Somewhere.

And you know what's cool? The buses here are air conditioned AND thanks to modern technology and GPS systems, the bus announces to you what street its on, and which street its presently crossing, so you know exactly when to pull the chain. (They still haven't figured out a better way to tell the driver to pull over...)

And one other final cool thing. Tonight I went for a humid, hot walk and after a while I saw little explosions in front of my eyes. I thought I was seeing things, then I thought I was having a stroke, and then I realized they were fireflies. Amazing. I've never seen fireflies before, that I can remember. Like little explosions of light, then they're gone. And all over the place too.

Thats just too cool. And it's hot enough here to need a little cool.

Off to bed. Tomorrow by 8 I have to be in class.


Highlights from a day in a cigar tube, 36,000 feet in the air.

The Canadair jets we have been in today are sweet little planes. Little does seem to be the word though. I honestly can't stand up straight in them.

Our flight attendants are named Ruby and Coco. Coco dealt with me and my pillow needs the most. She's cool, with a cool name. I don't think you could be a pastor and have a name like Coco.

I was having a nice sleep, till the lady in front of me decided to recline her chair to the far back position. She seemed to need to have this done as quickly as possible, so it wasn't a slow transition. One moment I was asleep with my head forward propped up on my hands, and the next I awoke to this jolt on the top of my head. That was when Coco came to my aid with a pillow.

Right now there's a guy standing in the aisle listening to his Ipod, with his hands in his pockets. He seems to be very tired of the cigar tube thing. Now he's doing stretching exercises, maybe pilaties, except I wouldn't recognize one if I saw it.

I am in the aisle seat, row fifteen, which for those of you unaccustomed to life in the fast lane, is right near the back. The washroom is also at the back, the only washroom. It seems that a great many people on this plane didn't go to the washroom before they left Calgary, so there is a line up back here. I'm meeting some interesting people in the bathroom line. Ruby, (Who is pregnant and expecting a girl.) (I overheard it in the washroom lineup) has announced that only one person can be in the washroom line at a time, because the person coming out of the head (or is that only on boats?) can't get past all the people in line. This makes sense to me, as a few people have fallen into my lap when they try to get past.

We should arrive in about half an hour, then begins our L ride, to be followed by a bus ride and then a couple of block hike.

Glad I packed as lightly as I could.

Last night I mentioned to my sister that I had just enough underwear for the nine days trip. She replied that on her last count she had OVER A HUNDRED PAIRS OF UNDERWEAR!!!!

That's just unbelievably gluttonous. There are whole African cities that don't have undergarments for their population, and here is my sister, cornering the market.

That's about all I got, from 36,000 feet.

Bye for now

Dear Lauralea

Friday, July 21, 2006
Well, I'm off to try to get a little rest before the alarm wakes me at 4:30 am. I just wanted to write and say good night and thank you.

Thank you for encouraging me to take this course. I really had my doubt's about it, but it looks like it will be good for me.

Thank you for supporting the things I do, even when they cost you something. Maybe especially when they cost you something.

I know a number of pastors whose spouses don't really support them in their work, and I know how absolutely difficult and lonely that can be.

I am deeply grateful that you are there, here, supporting, sending, blessing, and praying, even as I go off again. I know that I couldn't do the things I do, if you didn't or couldn't support me in the work. Really, I couldn't do this stuff.

I think I'll post that bit to my blog.

Yeah it's good and needful that churches have pastors, but it's even more good and more needful that churches have pastors with supporting spouses.

(Churches, love your pastor's spouses, ok?)

Thank You L.
i love you.

Four hours till the journey begins, and it feels heavy around here.

I"m leaving Lauralea with four kids, two with jobs that need planning to get transportation, and two that need to do some serious chores yet find themselves requiring motivation. The temperature will be very hot these days, and then so will the moods. As of today the van has started to act up, starting when it wants to, and due to my travel and kids at camps etc. and “The Bills,”? money is non-existent around here.

And I get to travel and be in classes and improve myself.

This exact scenario plays itself out often when I am leaving for a while. And it doesn"t seem to get any easier.

Usually we keep each other sane and level. But these are the times that we are on our own, even if you don"t want to be.

So, yeah, just a long thick farewell going on here.

...worth a thousand words.

Well it"s taken me some time but I feel like I need some creative image at the top of this space.

My plan is to change it whenever I am in the mood. So yeah, I"m in the mood!

This prairie image is taken looking towards the East. Just out yonder is where my dad was born, in the family homestead. It"s taken from the graveyard. Kinda cool that he was laid to rest within eyeshot of his birthplace.

I think the image will change later on today as I begin my trek to Chicago.

Leavin on the PM"s jet plane...

Thursday, July 20, 2006
I"m reading news reports that says there are nearly 40,000 Canadians in Lebanon. 40,000? That"s the size of Prince Albert on a good day. It"s gonna need a big solution to solve that size of a problem.

I guess my question is what"s going on in Lebanon that 40,000 Canadians are there?

Does it have great beaches or outdoor sidewalk cafes? Fine fashion or amazing vistas? Why are there 40,000 Canadians visiting Lebanon?

UPDATE: Sorry, now it"s 50,000 Canadians needing a fast boat ride out of Lebanon.

50,000. The mind boggles.

Gettin me sum Edumacation

Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Well, I gotta say, getting ready for this course next week is shifting my feelings about it.

On one hand it looks like a course that was hand crafted just for me. You know, where my head and heart are at these days.

But on the other hand, hey, this is serious study here. Books to read and write evaluations on, online courses to plow through, other books to read, and people I am required to meet with...

The course looks like seven days of morning, noon and night classes and meetings. I think there are two evenings free all week.

I have, through the gracious care of a friend, secured a basement in which to stay, which is much less than the $50 US a night that I was looking at paying at the school. The basement is 3 to 4 blocks away, which may make it interesting for getting supper and getting back to the University for the evening course. I"m not even sure there will be any time to get on a bus and find a grocery store to purchase supplies for the week. I might be on a first name basis with the vending machine man by the weeks end.

But it is going to be good. Much of the week will be about looking into a mirror, and seeing what"s there, and not dying.

I really need that, and I"m looking forward to that luxury.

With a little grace and God"s help, I think I will try to get down to my jazz haunt down at 11 E. Hubbard Street. Andy"s Jazz Club always puts on a good evening"s worth of music. (The long time reader will recall the time I was there and Nancy Sinatra came in and sat at the table next to me. Yes, Nancy “These shoes were made for walking”? Sinatra. Bliss.)

The journey starts Friday evening, and ends the following Sunday.

I"ll try to squeeze off a few pictures so you can enjoy it too.


Would you like some Meat with that...?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Back in May some friends of ours purchased an old three story home here in Prince Albert. They have been busily renovating it and building a lovely porch/deck on the back of it.

Last night they invited us over for supper.

Wow, I had to keep Lauralea"s tongue in her mouth. It"s just the kind of older character home she has wanted for oh, some 20 years. Beautiful.

And the supper was a blast too. He BBQed chicken, Italian sausage and amazing steak together with salad and potatoes and a lovely desert. (That describes each plate!)

We haven"t eaten so much good protein or enjoyed an evening out like that for a looooong time.

It kind of made up for a day of classroom prep for my course next week.

What he said

Sunday, July 16, 2006 often what I think.

he just says it better.

Sitting in my corner chair, listening...

Saturday, July 15, 2006
Tonight I"m sitting in my corner chair listening to some Steve Bell, reflecting on the week and the day. I am so grateful for the space this week, it gives me a sense or hope that I might actually make it through the summer. This is huge. Last week I wasn"t really sure I would even make it through the month.

Today when I got up it just felt flu-ish, so I spent the morning popping pills. Then around 1:00 Lauralea sent me to bed and I went. I slept till 2:30, got up for some more meds, and went back to bed till 6. Wow I crashed hard. And I"m about ready for bed again.

In other news, having two kids in the process of leaving and breaking away sure is hard. It seems the final break for some of them has to be so harsh and jagged. It hurts so much more when it"s like that, but different people are at different places in their maturity and experience. And you do your best to make the process as hopeful and as painless as possible. Still they are not experienced in this leaving either. Some days my only hope is that one day they will look back and see the difficulties their flailing about caused those closest to them. I hope.

Enough for one day.
I"ll leave you with The Blessing, in the words of Steve Bell.

”?cause in my heart there"s a sadness building up
Every turn adds to the cup
As the losses match the measure of my gains
In the shadow of this curse
Where the best implies the worst
If you"re like me you"ll need to hear somebody pray...

May the Lord bless and keep you
May His face shine upon you
May His graciousness be like an endless stream
May the Lord show His favour
To your house and your neighbor
Until last remaining strains of striving cease
May He grant you peace

Holy Listening - The Art of Spiritual Direction - Margaret Guenther

Friday, July 14, 2006
A great starting point on Spiritual Direction.

I like her approach.

Thanks, eh?

Well, it was a good decision my wife and church council made, that got me out of the city for a few days this week. I quite feel the new man.


Feels like I"ve been away for a few weeks rather than a few days. And that is probably the part where you came in, with your prayers.

So thanks. I and my wife appreciate your care.

Back to regular programing.


Hot, so hot

Thursday, July 13, 2006
Long walk in the afternoon sun.

Huge headache. I mean huge.

Many pills.

Sanity restored.

Still hot.

Epiphany: "a sudden intuitive leap of understanding, especially through an ordinary but striking occurrence"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Lauralea asked me on the phone tonight if I"d had any big epiphanies yet. She meant of course, are things getting clearer, any new fresh insights into life in general, our life in particular.

I confess that the largest epiphany was one I expected the least.

The epiphany is that my dad is dead.

I knew he was gone the morning of the 24th. I knew he was gone as we walked through the week of planning and viewing and funeral etc. I knew he was gone last week, when we had friends over, when I was preparing the sermon and visiting people in the hospital. I knew he was gone then, I thought.

But a part of my retreat and my escape to pray brought me through Saskatoon. And when in Saskatoon I came to my parents home, and just my mom was there. Dad was gone.

Some of his stuff is still around, and it still smells of his aftershave, but he is pretty much gone.

I am surprised by how that catches me unaware, again.

I guess it"s like I go home to P.A. and get on with life and its easy enough to not think of him as being gone, because in the past I could go for a week without seeing him and it didn"t ever mean he was dead. Except now it does.

Dad is really gone. Dead.
I never saw that one coming.

New tears...

Another epiphany I experienced, small as it may be, happened tonight as I watched a stunning sunset.

The colours were amazing, bright oranges and pinks mingled in with the deep blues of an approaching storm. As I watched I wondered silently what sights dad had now seen since he moved on to paradise.

The thought came like this, I wonder how his heart responds to these new sights, knowing that the person and people he would love to show them to, is back in Saskatoon Saskatchewan.

Like the times I travel and see amazing things, I instantly wish Lauralea could be with me to enjoy the sight too.

I suspect of course he would think of mom and how she would love it too. But I wonder if the joy of heaven is great enough to supplant that momentary hesitation, that wish for her to see it too.

I dunno. For now.


My Night Prayer

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
(From Universalis)

Psalm 143

Lord, listen to my prayer:
in your faithfulness turn your ear to my pleading;
in your justice, hear me.
Do not judge your servant:
nothing that lives can justify itself before you.

The enemy has hounded my spirit,
he has crushed my life to the ground,
he has shut me in darkness, like the dead of long ago.
So my spirit trembles within me,
my heart turns to stone.

I remind myself of the days of old,
I reflect on all your works,
I meditate once more on the work of your hands.
I stretch out my arms to you,
I stretch out my soul, like a land without water.

Come quickly and hear me, O Lord,
for my spirit is weakening.
Do not hide your face from me,
do not let me be like the dead,
who go down to the underworld.

Show me your mercy at daybreak,
because of my trust in you.
Tell me the way I should follow,
for I lift up my soul towards you.
Rescue me from my enemies:
Lord, I flee to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.

Your good spirit will lead me to the land of justice;
for your name"s sake, Lord, you will give me life.
In your righteousness you will lead my soul
away from all tribulation.

Amen, and amen.

Welcome to the quiet

It"s quiet here. Except for the sound of the fan trying to keep things cool and off in the distance somewhere kids are playing a game of softball, it is still.

And I"ve started to decompress.

I plan on doing a lot of walking these days. Walking and praying, like I used to do so much of about a million years ago.

But for now it"s quiet. And that is good.

P.A. plugged into world through web

I got a call yesterday from a Daily Herald reporter. He wanted to talk a bit about the Internet in Prince Albert.

So hey, I talked.

This was the front page result.

By Carter Haydu | Herald Staff

Prince Albert is getting online.

Just ask Randall Friesen. Through his weblog,, the local Gateway Covenant Church pastor became close friends with a man in England.

This year, the man and his family travelled to Prince Albert to meet Friesen in person.

“The coolest thing (about blogging) is just the friends I"ve made. I didn"t see that coming,”? he said.

Friesen said there a growing community of bloggers in the city.

The online minister believes the rest of Prince Albert is also becoming quite Internet suave.

At least one business owner is trying to cash in on that growing techno crowd.


Life in a smaller fishbowl can be fun.

Nouwen on A Time to Receive and a Time to Give

It is important to know when we can give attention and when we need attention. Often we are inclined to give, give, and give without ever asking anything in return. We may think that this is a sign of generosity or even heroism. But it might be little else than a proud attitude that says: "I don't need help from others. I only want to give." When we keep giving without receiving we burn out quickly. Only when we pay careful attention to our own physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs can we be, and remain, joyful givers.

There is a time to give and a time to receive. We need equal time for both if we want to live healthy lives.

Henri Nouwen

Thus begins my week of prayer.

Nice kick in the pants that.


So, for those of you playing along at home...

Monday, July 10, 2006
This spring has seen me making a few trips for my board work, travel to Calgary for our Conference Annual meeting, Travel to Strathmore for Johanna"s Commencement, meet Johanna"s “Boy Friend,”? come back to get her flights etc. arranged so she can be in Switzerland this year, travel to Saskatoon at least once a week to spend time with mom and dad, walk with a friend through cancer and another friend through nearly the loss of her life, assorted band concerts and board meetings, and school farewells, two work related funerals, child having emotional breakdown, Fathers day, Hillary"s big graduation weekend, my dad died, planned and moved through the week of his funeral, help as Executor of his small estate, good friends from another country arrive for a good visit, good friends from church here moving away, keeping up with preaching and Sunday services, and next week I"m at U of North Park, Chicago for my intensive class on Spiritual Direction.

Thus has run my last eleven weeks.

To say I am a basket case would not be an understatement. Still I find reserves inside to continue to step up and be present.

The church leadership where I serve has wisely told me to take a couple of days for a time of rest and prayer. This I will begin tomorrow.

So as you think of me, pray for refreshment and renewal of my tired tired spirit.

And pray too for Lauralea. I think this sums it up for both of us these days.


Superman Returns

I always thought Superman was the best superhero. He wasn"t a bat or a spider slash man anything. In fact he wasn"t human at all, which made him superhuman, not of this planet.

Yet he became as a human to live among us...

Heard that story before eh?

Anyway, Lauralea and I just got back from the movie. It was a keeper. No wonder it was the costliest movie ever made.

Kevin Spacey was brilliant as Lex Luther, -the best ever. And the plot, creating a new landmass, also was unexpected and a piece of villainous genius.

... and I thought that was Sir Richard Branson in the astronaut seat! What a goof.

Like I said, Lauralea and I give it two thumbs up.

Go see it.

Some observations made at the waterslide today

Micah, Thomas and I hit the slides this warm afternoon, and I noticed a few things.

1) like how we deal with our different body types in different ways. Hiding, adjusting, distracting ourselves, trying to make ourselves fit in to the broader community. I think the people who were the most fun to be around were those apparently unaware or unconcerned about how they looked. They were just having fun.

2) that what seemed like a great idea 20 years ago after a few drinks with friends, and off you went to get a tattoo, now 20 years and 4 kids later, that tat looks like the foldable back page of a mad magazine that you can"t make any sense of anymore.

3) that my boys are insensitive and in fact I don"t have any back hair.

I may have inadvertently purchased lilac scented deodorant

Well, I mean it has a purple colour to it, and I do suddenly remind myself of grandma"s bathroom, so maybe it is “Lilac”? disguised as “Sportsman.”?

I"m ok with that.
I am confident enough in my man-ness that it doesn"t make me feel insecure.


Nouwen on "Tending Our Own Wounds First"

Sunday, July 09, 2006
Our own experience with loneliness, depression, and fear can become a gift for others, especially when we have received good care. As long as our wounds are open and bleeding, we scare others away. But after someone has carefully tended to our wounds, they no longer frighten us or others.

When we experience the healing presence of another person, we can discover our own gifts of healing. Then our wounds allow us to enter into a deep solidarity with our wounded brothers and sisters.

Henri Nouwen

Perfect timing

More GoodByes

Saturday, July 08, 2006
I confess to the two of you who read this page that these days I feel quite lost.

Not eternally lost, for eternity seems closer than ever before and I think it can be that way when you have friends or family who have moved on into paradise.

No, this lostness seems to have me caught between needing a real break, and seeing people around me and my work that need attention.

I know that if I am ever to be a help to them, I need to care for myself first, but I am so torn.

Tonight we are also saying goodbye to some friends who have been worshiping with us a few years now. They are moving on to another town for their jobs. It will be good for them, but again, for us it"s another good bye.

They have helped us minister and care for the small group we are a part of, and it"s hard to stay behind as people come, get into your life, and move on. I confess I am nervous we will see a few other quality people move on because of their work. Sigh.

I"m still working on a location to retreat for next week. I hope the pieces fall into place ok.

I hate goodbyes

Friday, July 07, 2006

God go with you Toni, Chris and Ben.

Home to England, and into the future.

...and thank you.

Just a dream

I had a dream last night, about dad. Actually it was about his funeral, in a different place and different time.

A number of times we had to restart the funeral, because I couldn"t stop crying.
I did try to stop, it just wouldn"t.

The alarm woke me up suddenly, putting an end to that fruitless exercise.

The church leadership has encouraged me to take a few days next week, to help process some of the craziness of this spring and summer. So I"ll be looking to get away for a couple of days.

It might be good, if I can get away.

How to make lunch at the office when you get hungry

Thursday, July 06, 2006
1. Go down to the kitchen and dig out that box of Kraft Mac and Cheese you put there over a year ago.

2. Boil the noodles.

3. Drain the water when cooked.

4. Add three pats of butter you find in the fridge.

5. Put some powered coffee creamer in a cup, add warm water, stir the lumps out and add that to the noodles.

6. Mix in the powdered cheese.

7. Stir, and serve with a glass of cold water.

Mmmm. My years at college were not a complete waste of time.

And don"t feel too sorry for me. Toni"s cooking Indian for us today for supper. I can"t wait.

Nouwen on healing

“We are called to grieve our losses. It seems paradoxical, but healing and dancing begin with looking squarely at what causes us pain. We face the secret losses that have paralyzed us and kept us imprisoned in denial or shame or guilt. We do not nurse the illusion that we can hopscotch our way through difficulties. For by trying to hide parts of our story from God"s eye and our own consciousness, we become judges of our own past. We limit divine mercy to our human fears. Our efforts to disconnect ourselves from our own suffering end up disconnecting our suffering from God"s suffering for us. The way out of our hurt and loss is in and through. When Jesus said, ”?For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners," he affirmed that only those who can face their wounded condition can be available for healing and enter a new way of living.”?

Henri Nouwen

Supper in Saskatoon, with the Ertls

Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Supper in Saskatoon with the Ertl's

We had a great time last night in Saskatoon.

A few more pic's here.

Organ Donation

By Randall Friesen
Prince Albert Daily Herald

My father passed away peacefully this morning. He was 64 years old. This should normally cause us to be filled with grief, however for us it"s bittersweet.

You see, Dad was suppose to die eight years ago. He had a genetic liver disorder that caused his liver and eventually his lungs to fail. But eight years ago when his health began to fail rapidly, all the health options quickly became exhausted, there was no hope, except one.

That one hope lay in a liver transplant. Someone, somewhere would need to release the organs of someone they loved who had just died, probably in difficult circumstances.

Thankfully, for us and our father, someone somewhere was willing to do just that. And that has made all the difference.

Eight years more of life. What an amazing gift.

He saw his son meet the love of his life and marry her. He got to see his daughter get the job she had long waited for, and to see her do well in it, being promoted to positions of management. He saw his other daughter find fulfilling work and become established in her church community.

He shared wisdom with me as our children grew. He saw his youngest grandson grow up, and his eldest grandson move past the difficult stage of grade school and hit his stride in High School. He saw his granddaughters graduate from school with honors, and move off to University and College, something he was unable to do.

He was able to walk with his own parents through their own difficult seasons, into death. And to care for the details after they had gone.

He had extra time to love my mom, and to communicate his love and appreciation for her, as more and more he needed her to care for him.

This gift of extra time was never lost on him. He was always deeply aware of what it meant for him. In fact, when he passed away he donated the only thing his body was healthy enough to offer, his corneas.

Think for a moment of someone you loved who has passed away. What would you do with eight extra years with them? This is the kind of gift we received. Now it"s the kind of gift we offer when we make our organs available for another. It is the gift of extra time.

Please sign your organ donor card, and communicate your wishes to your family. It is a gift of time that you offer to another. And that extra time can make all the difference in the world.

Rev. Randall E. Friesen

In Saskatoon, Tuesday

Sunday, July 02, 2006
Shall I say how these people (Toni and Chris) have moved into our hearts?

They have, you know.

All the quiet concerns about who they might turn out to be, melt away in their presence, and it"s good. I"m really going to miss them.

Anyway, we are thinking of coming to Saskatoon on Tuesday, and hanging around the Tony Roma (125 Circle Drive East. TEL (306) 384-7427), over on Idywyld north. After supper sometime.

Anybody wanna drop by and connect a bit?

Let's aim for 6:30 shall we?

Funeral Service Online

Saturday, July 01, 2006
Dad's funeral service was recorded and I know some of his relatives, and friends back in Ontario wanted to hear it.
You can click on these links to listen to it, or right click on them, select "Save Link As..." and save it to your hard drive.

reubenfuneral40.mp3 (20 megs)
reubenfuneral98.mp3 (49 megs)

Funeral for Reuben Friesen
Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:00 am
Ebenezer Baptist Church, 107 McWillie Ave., Saskatoon, Sk.



Call to worship ”? Rev. Dale Doerksen

Welcome and Prayer

Congregational Song “In The Sweet By and By”?

Scripture Reading: John 14:1-6 Rev. Al Kehler

Special Music ”? Gaylene Friesen

Eulogy - Rev. Randall Friesen


Poem ”? Johanna Friesen

Special Music -Westmount Quartet

Meditation ”? Rev. Jake Friesen


Closing song “God be with you till we meet again”?

Prayer and Benediction



Just yuck is all.

It"s been good these days, just to be Reuben and Eva"s son. I"m not ready to go back to being a pastor.

But this morning at 8am, another pastor called and pushed me to so some stuff for him today. I was having difficulty getting to sleep last night so I was up most of the night. 8 am found me incoherent and unable to even focus on what day it was, let alone say no.

I got up and have been at the office most of the day, there was a wedding here so someone should be here. Since I am still working on the service for tomorrow, it might as well be me.

The kids are not doing great either. They are fighting a lot, trying to work out inside stuff too I guess.

And hey, a part of me just wants to suck it up and get on with life. It just feels like there is this speed bump I"m hung up on, and can"t seem to get over, yet.

So, as you remember us, help us with your prayers,


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